I never considered myself a hormonal person and yet on turning 40, after a period of sustained stress and ill health, I developed over the following years many of the symptoms on the list above.
Prior to being diagnosed as coeliac, in my late 30’s, I had always been healthy and relatively stable in attitude – how was I now on this emotional rollercoaster?
I had experienced anxiety during my relationship breakdown and was unsettled to find similar symptoms had become a bit of a feature in this new stage of life. It seemed to take so much of my energy to manage my feelings so I could to try to continue to function as normally as possible.
Have you experienced similar symptoms, feelings or challenges?
In a busy stage of life with fairly young children, I initially put the tiredness, poor memory and anxious thoughts down to the juggling challenges of parenthood, particularly as a single parent.
I spent months trying establish what was happening within my body to cause me to feel like I did…
With increased night sweats and mood swings I tried all kinds of dietary and alternative supplements, spoke to friends, colleagues, read, googled and sought support from my Gp. After some blood tests I was a bit shocked, but relieved, to be diagnosed as peri menopausal.
What was this! Further investigations followed…
The concept was okay, I’d had my children, though this took a bit of getting used to, but the symptons were much more tricky!
Heading into the menopause early, I was really unprepared! Why were these feelings and thoughts so pervasive after sailing relatively unscathed through puberty and into adulthood?
After a year or so of struggling with a variety of symptoms, despite experimenting with many products including soya, rich in isoflavones, black cohosh and evening primrose oil all resulting in little relief I returned yet again to my sympathetic female Gp. With teenagehood looming, and my increased irritability I was rapidly running out of options she seriously discussed HRT. Being a long way off fifty she explained the benefits outweighed the negatives as these were hormones my body should still ideally have. Trying a couple of different brands and doses finally found the combination which improved many of my symptoms.
Continuing on HRT today, anxiety is the main one which continues to raise its head from time to time!
When you don’t have anxiety you can’t imagine what it is like so I’d have weeks of being okay and in between bouts it seems irrational and unbelievable it is so debilitating. So you push on…
I have since read much around anxiety, the menopause, coeliac disease, the human brain and hormones, whilst the challenges continue.
The role of hormones and the fine balance between these are well demonstrated as below.
With several factors unbalancing your health, it makes sense it will take some time to even begin to restore some normality. This model helps explain the complexity and the delicate balancing interplay of several feel good chemicals which affect your mood.
I’ve found trying to understand what is happening in my body and mind has helped me to manage symptoms over time. However self acceptance has been one of the biggest challenges which still continues to this day.
More recently I have not only read about the positives of exercise but also the need to find new directions, develop skills and find purpose as a woman moving into her fifties.
Certainly for me this is the time of finding fewer or no children at home, after being such a focus for many years. This may have been both demanding, yet fun, but requires great adjustment to find the ‘new you’ as you make potentially huge changes to your lifestyle. This stage brings adaptions psychologically & emotionally and can leave you feeling again overwhelmed and anxious about future directions.
Talking to someone to find a way forward can be invaluable at this time. Helping you to take stock of where you are and what you want, can help you to set a new direction, and identify manageable steps. Enabling you to move towards a new phase of life which can be liberating.
Take that first step today!!
Jo Copland-Dando is an Integrated Hypnotherapist and Coach with a background in Health. She works on many issues affecting well being. As a specialist in Anxiety, she works with AnxietyUk to support clients. In a quiet space she supports clients from a purpose built, safe and confidential garden room, situated between Bath and Bristol.